Kootenay Kitchen Confidential: Rusty Cox, The Heid Out
By Danielle Cardozo
From working at Chateau Lake Louise, to Executive Chef of one of Cranbrook’s most popular restaurants, the Heid Out, Rusty Cox has brought a new style of dining to Cranbrook.
I recently sat down with the blunt chef at The Heid Out, where he shared his perspective of life in the industry.
What brought you into the industry? I always cooked as a kid and enjoyed it. I went to Edmonton and started cooking at Fantasy Land Hotel, and started an apprenticeship in my second year.
What has been your most exciting experience as a chef? My position as the fine dining sous chef at Chateau Lake Louise. It’s incredible being part of such a large establishment.
How would you describe your dining style? Minimal. Less is more. Keep it simple. Too much food nowadays looks phenomenal but tastes like cardboard. My food always tastes better than it looks… haha.
Can you tell me a bit about your favorite dining experience? Honestly, I love going to people’s backyards. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s usually simple fare. A lot of great flavors happen at barbeques.
What is your favorite dish on your menu? The Chai Milkshake dessert. It’s three layers, frozen crème brule on the bottom, chai milkshake in the middle, topped with biscotti crumble. It’s really refreshing in the warm summer months.
What is your favorite part of running a kitchen in a brew house? The brew is just one more thing that brings people in for the food. They come for great beer and they want great food. Not to mention, I get to use the (Fisher Peak Brewing Co.) beer in about a third of my menu! We’ve even made beer sorbets. It’s great using beer in the kitchen.
You seem to really enjoy your experience in the kitchen, would you recommend the industry to others? No. It’s the lifestyle. If you want evenings off, weekends off, holidays off. You’re in the kitchen 12-14 hours. If you’re in the industry, you are going to be missing the most important moments of your life. But the trade off is, if you have a passion for it, its very rewarding.
What advice would you give to those wanting to pursue the industry? Try it before you get too serious. Go spend a summer in a kitchen before you enroll into culinary school. Get a job first. Then go to school.
Every chef has a guilty food pleasure. MasterChef Canada’s Chef Claudio Aprile recently disclosed on Instagram that he has a guilty pleasure of Chef Boyardee. What is your guilty pleasure? Tim Horton’s Ice Caps and Milk Duds. Yup. Those.
Speaking of celebrity chefs. Are there any out there who you really admire? Zero. I don’t believe there are celebrity chefs out there. That’s what media does to them. They go from being a chef and they’re turned into glorified office workers. They don’t even cook any more.
During our meeting, we sat down and enjoyed The Heid Out’s new Charcuterie Platter. It consisted of prosciutto, landjager sausage, speck, Oka and Manchego cheese, fig jam, salted pecans and toasted baguette. I have to say, I was quite impressed. A staple item in European restaurants since the dawn of time, it has become a trendy menu item recently in Canada.
Chef Cox really grabbed my attention when he let me know that his charcuterie come from Gwinners Country Butcher, in Kimberley; as I am great supporter of shopping, cooking, and serving local!
Danielle – Kootenay Kitchen Confidential
– Danielle Cardozo is a mom of three, entrepreneur, and shameless idealist. Whether it be creating it, sharing it, or writing about it; the culinary world is her ultimate passion. Danielle placed eighth on the first ever season of CTV’s MasterChef Canada, and has continued blazing her trail in the culinary world since. Danielle contributes her success to hard work and being stubborn, as she’s never believed anyone who has told her she can’t do something.